Eastern opens season with win on road

Maher Kawash, Baseball Reporter


The Eastern baseball team has begun its third year under head coach Jason Anderson, and the expectations are rising.

In the first action of 2018, the Panthers hit the road for the first of 16 games away from Coaches Stadium to start the year, and the end result of that opening weekend was one win.

There was plenty of competitive baseball played though as the Panthers capped the weekend with their first win Sunday in the 6-5 defeat over Louisiana-Monroe.

Senior pitcher Dustin Wilson picked up the win in that one after pitching three shutout innings in relief while giving up just four hits for Eastern.

That series finale also represented the Panthers improving upon something they struggled with not only at the start of the weekend, but also all of last season.

Eastern held an early lead after a three-run fifth inning was sparked by senior Dougie Parks’ three-run home run.

But, unlike the first two games and some games last season, the Panthers prevailed in the late innings when it mattered most to pull out their first win of the year.

The amount of offense seen in this first series is also a pleasant sign for Eastern to start the season.

The Panthers were able to knock in six runs in game two as well, but the three-run bottom of the ninth from Louisiana Monroe washed all of that away.

Redshirt junior Hunter Morris was one guy to get off to a solid start for Eastern, hitting .385 in the first three games with two RBI’s and three runs scored.

Parks is here to knock in runs for the Panthers, and he proved that is something he can do well the rest of the way after knocking in six of the team’s 15 runs scored over the weekend.

Shoring up the bullpen will be an important key to any success to come for Eastern this season as in that game-two loss junior Carson Haws tossed 6.2 innings with 11 strikeouts and just one earned run, but it was all for naught as it ended in a loss.

Game one offered a pretty solid performance all around for Eastern’s pitching staff despite ending up on the wrong end of an extra-inning affair.

Senior Michael Starcevich may have been the most impressive, coming in for relief, and throwing for nearly five innings while notching six strikeouts.

With the rust of the offseason starting to shake off with that first series in the books, the season continues for Eastern with another three-game set on the road.

The Panthers head to Tennessee Friday to begin their series against the University of Memphis.

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]